When O’Keeffe was 96 years old, she ordered her last suit: an impeccably designed all-black ensemble—featuring a matching jacket, pants, and vest—from the famous men’s tailor, Emsley.
Throughout her life, O’Keeffe cultivated a personal style that was as elegant and daring as her iconic paintings depicting close-ups of turgid flowers and saturated, sulfurous desert landscapes. Like her artwork, her wardrobe challenged stylistic norms of the time. She tossed aside form-augmenting dresses decorated with feminine details (colorful patterns, intricate lace), in favor of loose-fitting, unadorned tunics and menswear crafted in a restrained palette.
During her early years in Texas and New York, O’Keeffe stuck to minimal black and white dresses, shirts, and skirts, occasionally throwing her husband ’s
cape over her shoulders. After moving to New Mexico, her wardrobe became still more androgynous, consisting primarily of simple wrap dresses (some of which she designed herself), blue jeans, suits, kimonos, and her signature vaquero cowboy hat.
O’Keeffe’s minimalist, nonconforming style would go on to influence fashion designers for years to come. In 1984, Calvin Klein crafted an entire collection around her aesthetic, then had
shoot the corresponding campaign at her New Mexico home, Ghost Ranch, in Abiquiú. More recently, magazines like Vogue
and designers like Valentino have drawn from her striking wardrobe and carefully curated public persona, which was the subject of a recent exhibition, “Living Modern,” at the Brooklyn Museum